It is vital that we continue in prayer for this nation. However, in order to see the needed changes occur in our culture that will bring lasting reformation, it's time to consider additional actions that will demonstrate kingdom authority in our individual spheres of influence.
We can learn much from one intercessor in the Bible who affected an entire nation through his intercessory activism. Though many are familiar with Esther's role in delivering a nation from destruction, it was Mordecai who paved the way for this national breakthrough through his prayers and engagement in the public square. His persistence in the midst of uncertainties and threats portrays a man with a mandate and assignment from the Lord.
Mordecai's story reveals 10 strategic keys for effective prayer and engagement as we confront and displace wickedness in high places, not only on the national level, but within our own communities:
- Loving God and others. Mordecai was a father figure to Esther. In raising her, he helped establish her faith as well as her love for God and the Jewish people (Esth. 2:7). This bond rightly directed their hearts, their prayers and their responses throughout their journey. This kind of foundation is essential to effective prayer. Meaningful relationships and mutual concern for others help to establish the proper motivation in prayer.
- Going on-site for insight. When Esther was taken to the palace, Scripture states, "Every day Mordecai walked around the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther fared and what might be done with her" (Esth. 2:11). As a man of prayer, could he have been taking daily prayer walks? Every day, Mordecai was on-site to listen and learn, seeking the Lord for insight during the 12 months of Esther's beauty treatments for the king. Prayer walking our communities may be an underutilized tool of intercession that can produce powerful insights and clarity as to the Lord's purposes and plans.
- Engaging in the public square. Mordecai also sat at the king's gate where decisions were made and official business took place (2:19). Whether he was an invited participant or careful observer, he sought to be better informed. He positioned himself at the place where decrees were issued and verdicts were rendered on behalf of the king and the nation. This shows us the need to be rightly informed on issues and to watch those in positions of authority so we can learn and discern.
- Speaking out against corruption. Mordecai's decision to sit in this place of political activity proved to be significant. He overheard a plot to assassinate the king and reported it to Esther (Esth. 2:21-23). He did not let fear stop him from alerting the palace of this threat. When the investigation proved the story to be true, the criminals were hanged, and Mordecai's courageous actions were written in the official record. Believers need ongoing boldness when confronting wrongdoing or corruption. Regardless of the threats, our testimonies and actions may be the very catalyst to break the enemy's back.
- Exposing injustice. This seemingly small but significant act granted Mordecai great favor with the king. Unbeknownst to Mordecai or Esther, God planned to use this event to later position Mordecai as a trusted adviser to the king. His willingness to speak up and take action against injustice created a platform for him when much more would be at stake. Never forsake small beginnings! God is looking for your faithfulness, no matter how small the task. It may be what opens the door to an even bigger assignment.
- Standing firm in the face of intimidation and threats. When Mordecai refused to bow to Haman, the demonically driven official sought to kill him (3:5-6). Even so, Mordecai didn't compromise or relent. Despite ridicule and death threats, Mordecai stood his ground and trusted God to vindicate him. It is critical to trust the Lord's timing when seeking justice. Sometimes, we will be called to simply stand our ground as the Lord makes the next move.
- Standing in the gap for people. Once Mordecai learned about the death decree against his people, the Bible says he "tore his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and bitter cry" (4:1b). He humbled himself in front of the whole city in order to bring attention to an injustice. His witness became the example for others to follow throughout the entire province as fellow Jews fasted and wept aloud for their nation. Don't underestimate what your own obedient response may stir in the spirit. Others may be looking for direction and your example may be just the thing they need to take action.
- Staying informed and prepared. When asked by an official what he was doing, Mordecai was prepared with a testimony as well as written papers proving his case (4:8). His lament was not without cause. He knew the facts and details and was prepared to share them with the appropriate people. It is imperative that we get the facts straight and share accurate information. Heaven will back us up when we've done our homework, counted the cost and come prepared.
- Speaking the Word of the Lord. When Esther responded to Mordecai's suggestion of appealing to the king for mercy, she was fearful and hesitant. Yet his word to her became the key that unlocked the door to her destiny: "'For if you remain silent at this time, protection and deliverance for the Jews will be ordained from some other place, but you and your father's house shall be destroyed. And who knows if you may have attained royal position for such a time as this?'" (Esth. 4:14). Just as Esther was there "for such a time as this," so was Mordecai. Without his presence and prophetic declaration to her, Esther may have missed the God-ordained opportunity before her. You, too, may have a word for someone that will launch them into their assignment. Don't be afraid to speak it!
- Becoming an ambassador of national prayer. When Mordecai took Esther's request to the Jewish people for a time of national fasting and prayer, he became a conduit of intercession (4:15-17). He championed this national call to prayer and stood in the gap for Esther and their people. Mordecai became a change agent for his nation through prayer and intercession in a time of crisis.
God is strategically placing believers in positions of influence and authority throughout our nation to bring needed transformation. Just as Mordecai was a hidden tool in God's hands, so are numerous change agents being positioned to speak much-needed counsel and wisdom to those in high places. Mordecai never sought the limelight, but went undercover in the place of prayer and encouragement to one who was. We are all called to pray, but I believe there are many who carry this Mordecai mandate—are you one of them? This commission is to stand in the gap, take action and be an example that will inspire and motivate others to be change agents in our communities and nation.
May God's grace be upon all who are called to be strong and courageous, for the battle is the Lord's and the victory will be ours.
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